Friday, August 15, 2008

Does God Hate Divorce?

Posted by Hannah at 8:42 AM

Johanpdx Blog had an interesting article about this called, Does God Hate Divorce? The article spoke about how pastors can use scripture from Malachi in order to NOT deal with domestic violence within the church!




  • The passage from Malachi is just as much about the community's unfaithfulness to God as about any individual covenant violation, but, too often the abusive husband (and his sometimes unwitting confederate, the usually male pastor) find it convenient to use Malachi's words exclusively to bind the victim.

That's the part I never understood! Why intend to force them to stay, and NOT address the portion that making them - to put simplistically - happy, safe and in peace? In most cases victims wish the abuse to stop, but not always the marriage to end. When they realize the domestic abuse isn't going to end or even be addressed that is when idea of fleeing comes up.


To me this type of approach is to manipulate someone to stay, and is that really want God would wish from this pastor?



  • In Malachi's time, most if not all divorces were initiated by men; the clear intent of the passage is to protect women from being selfishly abandoned, not to prevent women in violent situations from finding safety.

That also seems like common sense. To me God wouldn't wish someone to stay in bondage, because everyone chooses to ignore the reasons for the bondage. I mean is marriage truly suppose to be bondage? I'm NOT talking about the one flesh bond here! When you are dealing with domestic violence within marriage quoting passages to make the victim second guess herself and NOT address the factor of her safety overall is sin. Its a manipulative way of keeping her there, and you are basically saying her safety isn't important to God. That is a lie! God does care about the safety of victims, and these pastors are acting like the ones that walked passed the victim in the story of the good Samaritan! They are walking on the other side of the road, and totally ignoring the morality of what they should be doing and what God calls us to do.



  • It's convenient for abusers and their confederates to emphasize only the first words of Malachi 2:16, "God hates divorce," leaving out the part where God hates it when a man covers himself with violence. Even if we accept the interpretation that "violence" here refers to the divorce itself, it seems self-serving to ignore the violence within an abusive marriage--and that the biblical caution is principally aimed at the man. Look at the tenderness with which Malachi talks about the ideals of marriage; compare that to the selfish domination of an abusive marriage.

When I hear about how the portion AFTER the comma in this all famous quote is misapplied in the fashion that the author states above I have to wonder if these Pastor's truly know the spirit of what Jesus represents. They are quoting the words, and NOT getting the message! The fact that domestic violence is illegal as well, and the pastor's are telling the family to ignore that portion just plain shocks me! They never stop to think of the brokenness of the abuser, and they fact that they are NOT safe to the family! They need to be removed so their root of rage, and true brokenness needs to be healed. That their family needs a separate type of healing, and above all a sense of safety within the home.


All to often we see families in the news in areas that are war torn, and we feel sorry for all of them! We wish we could find some way of making the war end, and have peace come over their lives! We THANK God for the blessed place he has placed us in, and mourn for those families living in terror! Do people forget that those that deal with domestic abuse within the christian home are living something similar to those they mourn for on the television? They may not have bullets, bombs, and solders but they do have an abusive christian spouse that is having them live in a type of war zone they seem to ignore.



  • The Bible itself doesn't support misplaced and selfish literalism. In God's name, Ezra commands divorce (Ezra 10:10-11) in the same sort of larger situation Malachi addresses--namely when Judah breaks faith and goes after daughters of foreign gods. In an abusive marriage, hasn't faith also been broken?

Protection from Abuse, Violence against Women (or men), Emotional abuse with the marriage, or emotional abuse of a child needs to be dealt with with some common sense! Controlling behavior needs to be addressed! Martial abuse, Traumatic bonding at times as well needs to be taken seriously. Prayer is always welcome, but sacrifice on the behalf of believers to make sure what is morally correct needs to happen! We need to stop the invalidation of the fear and agony that is happening within christian homes! Sermons on Domestic abuse or Sermons on Domestic Violence needs to happen ALOT more often! Most people state they have NEVER heard one!



  • Malachi says, "... The Lord is acting as the witness between you and the wife of your youth, because you have broken faith with her ...." How dare anyone cover abuse with public piety when God witnesses the true state of affairs, even though the church and the pastor might be clueless?


I have to wonder at times what the Lord says to these pastors and abusive spouses come judgement day when he KNOWS they KNOW what is really going on, and make some choices NOT to deal with it! How they allowed headship to be used as a tool that is not fashioned after what scripture says it is. How submission is used as a weapon to guilt those that are broken under the bondage of abuse. When you read James 3 and try to tell families that verbal abuse and emotionally abuse isn't REAL abuse! That's a lie! Prayer for the abused is always welcome as I mentioned, but healing must take place as well. When you have a world that won't acknowledge the damage that is clearly stated in scripture they are denying help to those that really need it. You can't ignore narcissist attitudes, and then state 'I said I was sorry' is remorse! Listen to those that are hurting because they are only going to tell you the tip of the iceberg! If you show them you are safe you will get the information you are looking for! If you use scripture to show them they must stay in an environment they are telling you is damaging them - you won't be seeing them anymore and you passed up an opportunity to find true repentance and healing to a family.


The author had a video attached to their message, and it was a song called, "You have to choose!"




So what are you going to choose? YES God hates divorce, but he also hates how churches are dealing with domestic violence! He hates the excuses you are handing down to deal with it as well! Do you really think submission is going to end the healing? If so get some education, but God sees how they treat their wifes of their youth. You need to also!


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4 comments:

Rob Floyd said...

I think you raise valid issues. The largest problem that I see is churches do not understand the nature of God's grace in confronting, head on, the reality of these issues in marriages. As a result they apply only a legalistic band aid to marital conflict which ensures that the couple will continue in their problems. Both the abuser and the abusee have a responsibility to deal with conflict in the marriage appropriately regardless of what one or the other does to try and help resolve the problem.

Hannah on 2:07 PM said...

I think both could deal with the issues if someone would acknowledge them for what they are. lol! I agree!

www.wanetadawn. com on 3:30 AM said...

Rob Floyd called it "marital conflict." I dislike that term when referring to domestic abuse, because it suggests the parties are equally responsible for the "conflict," and if she would just stop fighting, the conflict would stop.

The truth is the abuser often stirs up "conflict" or purposely creates it as a means of establishing domination over the other. One day he may insist his wife must discipline the children, for example, and two months later he may insist she is not to discipline them at all; they are to be free to run wild. Frequently his demands are irrational or ridiculous, but he "spins" them to make it sound like her view is the crazy one. That is NOT conflict. It's abuse.

I realize women can do this type of abuse, too, but they do not have submission teaching as a support and justification of the church to back them up. Men who abuse are also far more likely to kill their wives than abusive women are to kill their husbands. For example, in Iowa in 2006 15 women were killed by their intimate male partners, and one man was killed by his intimate female partner that same year. (4 children were also killed as a result of DV).

Hannah on 10:16 AM said...

Its my hope that people that come along to this blog DO understand what you speak of. When I started this blog so many years ago - it was so hard just to find a handful of articles and didn't have gaping holes within them that clearly didn't apply. I appreciated Rob's article overall, because he was allowing himself to see what was happening and not sprinkle spiritual pixie dust all over it.

I saw the church as hiding from this issue since the beginning of my journey, and I have to admit I felt lied to and betrayed. The more I looked the more I realized it wasn't just coming from one group or another...and I guess I was naively shocked!

I got help from a local DV shelter, and I spoke of the faith factor in my life. They had one staff member that was attempting to build the bridges between the church and their organization. I was shocked at how hard she was working, and the amount of resistant she was receiving. They were wanting help for people like myself, but they were turned away. NOT ONCE did they play anything about my faith against me! I think if anything because of my vocal nature they tried harder. I would bring more resources, and show them more articles as I found them.

I include men here because I have know of men personally effected by this issue. I realize that they may not have the numbers that women have, and I'm sure in the physical abuse sense it may not be close. The emotional and verbal abuse to me can be much more damaging. It strips away the sense of worth and esteem. It takes away parts of yourself that you may not ever get back. I include men because even that 1 man in Iowa counts in God's eyes. He counted to those that loved him, and I think society at times ignores the woman's side - don't believe the man's side at all. To me that is sad and outrageous at the same time.

To me this is a human issue, because it effects every segment of our world. Churches are doing themselves a huge disservice by their means of NOT dealing with it.

To be perfectly honest - I can see another church scandal just like the one that started with the catholics with this issue. Someone will die, and that huge gaping hole they use to deal with this issue will show itself to the world. People outside their protective bubble are going to pop it, and they may start to deal with it finally. Its sad that it will have to come to that.

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